Keep It In The Family – Episode 35

Settled at a window seat watching the world go by, Rosie waited while Freya brought a selection of soup and sandwiches, wondering what Adam had on his mind. Was this the moment he was going to tell her she was on her own with the business?He’d been great in the current crisis, but she knew how he got restless and bored once things became routine, and it looked, thankfully, like routine was where things were headed, for the time being at least.She sipped at the steaming soup, another of Freya’s home-made recipes.“Does Freya feed you like this at home? It’s delicious. I’d be the size of a house if I lived with her!”All around them the tables were filling with customers and the place had a happy buzz about it that Rosie knew could be attributed to Freya’s friendly management.She took another sip, then looked up at Adam.“You wanted to talk?” she prompted.Adam put down his spoon and nodded, reaching in to the inside pocket of his jacket to pull out a sheaf of paperwork. He handed it to her.“What’s this?” she asked, taking it from him.“It’s the application forms for college,” he said.The hubbub rose and fell around them while Rosie stared at him, taking in his words. She looked at the papers, then back at him.“Are you saying ?”“I’m saying that I know I’ve been stubborn and couldn’t see sense when it was right in front of me. I’m saying that I don’t know who I was trying to kid that I could walk away from Willson’s. But it’s in my blood, just like Mum and Dad always knew; it just took me a long time to see it for myself.“I’m saying that I’m sorry I’ve been such a selfish, irresponsible idiot, and that I really want you to have your chance to do what you want instead of letting me have my own way all the time.”Rosie sat back.“Wow! Are you sure?”“One hundred percent,” he said emphatically.“What made you change your mind?” she asked, lifting her spoon again. As excited as she was, Freya’s soup was too good to let go cold.Adam began eating his lunch again, too, pausing between mouthfuls to answer her.“I think it was this takeover crisis. It focused my mind and made me really think about the business, and I realised how much I love everything about it: the family’s involvement, the challenge, the thinking about different strategies. I feel as though I finally have a proper purpose. I don’t think you’ll dispute that I’ve been pretty aimless up to now.”Rosie just grinned.“This is so fabulous. Does Mum know?”“She will in a minute. I asked her to meet us here, and here she comes, right on time.”Joyce came in smiling, yet intrigued by Adam’s brief morning call.“Hello, you two. So what’s this about? Not that I’m not delighted to be having lunch with my two elder children, of course.”Adam grinned mischievously.“Actually you’re getting all three,” he said as Sarah, too, came rushing in to join them.Joyce was looking at Rosie, her eyebrows raised in query. Rosie shrugged.“This is Adam’s party. I’ll leave it to him to explain.”First Adam quickly recounted Bruce Radley’s visit that morning, and then he went on to tell them exactly what he had told Rosie just a few minutes before. When he finished Joyce clapped her hands.“Oh, well done, Adam! I’m so pleased.” She reached out to clasp Rosie’s hand. “And I’m just thrilled for you, love. Finally, just what your dad and I always wanted for you.”Rosie couldn’t stop smiling.“I can hardly believe it. I must phone Alan.”“There’s just one thing,” Adam broke in, and for a moment her heart froze in her chest.But he was looking at their younger sister as he spoke. Sarah’s gaze went around the table.“What?” she said.“I want you to come in with me. Dad couldn’t have done it without Rosie and I can’t manage it all on my own. You’re great at all the modern marketing angles, stuff I know nothing about. I could really use your help. Will you think about it?”Suddenly Rosie saw her young sister with new eyes. Sarah wasn’t the baby of the family any more. She was a very clever woman with a natural flair for business, and Adam had spotted it. Somehow it was suddenly so obvious: who else but Sarah should join him as he took over the reins?“But only if you want to,” he insisted. “I’ve learned that lesson,” he added with a grin at Rosie.“The answer’s yes,” Sarah announced. “I would love that! I have so many ideas. All through my course I always used Willson’s as my model. To be able to do it for real, I can’t wait!”Joyce was laughing and crying all at once.“I wish your father were here to see this. He’d be so proud of you all.”Freya had been bustling about making sure all her customers were happy, but now she stopped by their table.“So, everything all right here?” she asked.“Oh, more than all right,” Rosie told her. “Things just couldn’t be better.”Rosie went home after lunch at Adam’s insistence. Of course, no-one else was there, and for a moment she was at a loose end with the unfamiliar time to herself. But then she started looking through all the forms Adam had given here, and before she knew it Ryan and Jodie were coming in from school and it was time to think about cooking supper.


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